One of the most interesting things within the second semi-final is the fact that a number of uptempo songs are nonexistent especially when compared to the number of ballads due to the ever growing presence of the Balkans. Therefore, it means that some of the songs might end up standing out a little bit more and this seems to be the case with Ukraine who are performing in the seventh position. Over the years, the country has been quite successful at the music spectacle and they will be hoping to continue their streak of success with their entry Be My Guest written by Gaitana and KIWI Project and performed by Gaitana.
Gaitana is a Ukrainian singer and composer, who has recorded and released five albums and more than 20 music videos within ten years of career. She has received several awards already, including the Ukrainian Music Award for the "Best Female Singer of the Year" and the face of Francophonie Festival 2010.Over the past year Gaitana became "Official Friend of UEFA Euro 2012", and started working on a set of creative sports and social projects.
Among others she wrote the song You Are The Champion for the Klitschko Brothers Foundation, an "anthem of a social project for orphan children". In the future she is going to release her new album, which was created by Narada Michael Walden, Eric Daniels, Rob Hoffman, Robert Damper. The album was recorded in San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles. Gaitana will represent Ukraine in the 2012 Eurovision song Contest, where she will sing her own composition Be My Guest, which won the national final in Ukraine, receiving the highest points from both the jury and TV viewers
The Critics Voice Their Opinion
- “Born this way” by Lady Gaga, “Bittersweet Harmony” by The Verve and “When love takes over” by David Guetta in the same song! All great tracks should make an amazing song for Ukraine. But no. Where is the melody underneath the modern music production? Where is the dynamic in the vocal performance? Now I’m just hear somebody who almost screams all the time. I believe that four (4) points are in order when it comes to this entry.
- This is a track which has been very much influenced by When Loves Takes Over of David Guetta. It is clearly a case of getting on the dancefloor with Gaitana. She has a strong voice actually and I think she can do wonders. I would like to give her six (6) points.
- Gaitana is a feisty presence, who is bound to shake some life into this semi with her football anthem, perhaps more designed for this summer's European championships rather than Eurovision. Lacking a bit in the chorus department, but in possession of a set of strong hooks, this could still get far with the Ukrainian know-how of Eurovision performances hence she does get my eight (8) points.
Composers: Gaitana & Kiwi Project
Song: Be My Guest
History of the Nation
This will mark the tenth appearance of Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest and it seems to have been somewhat of a successful ride thus far having always been part of the finals and noting that they only did not make the top ten on three occasions, somewhat predicted each time. On their second participation, they managed to secure victory with Ruslana and her song Wild Dances but they would gun for victory again in 2007 and 2008 when Verka Serduschka and Ani Lorak with their respective entries Dacing Lasha Tumbai and Shady Lady. They went on a different path for the next three years but surprisingly ended up successful last year when their artist Mika Newton performed a beautiful song entitled Sweet People which finished in fourth place.
Sweden has always been noted to be a country with a strong music industry and their participation in the Eurovision Song Contest has always been almost always been treated with success missing the final only on one occasion, being back in 2010 when Anna Bergendahl and her entry This Is My Life failed by virtue of finishing in eleventh place. In preparation to the actual competition, they call upon leading names in the music and entertainment industry with the aim of listening and commenting on the entries that would have been put forward by all of the countries including their very own. The results of the first semi-final were released last week with Cyprus leading the board and that meant that the second semi-final entries were not far away. In fact, Malta is competing in the very first part of the evening and hence the verdict was passed.
Unfortunately the panel which is led by singers Lena Philipsson and Mans Zelmerow as well as commentators Gina Dirawi, Thomas Lundin and Lisette believe that Malta does not have the right entry to make it to the finals having received just nine (9) points out of a possible total of twenty-five (25) meaning that it did not even garner half of the required points and languished just slightly above the bottom of the board. The Swedish previews have been noted to have quite the impact of the public. The focus of the evening was definitely Sweden and their entry Euphoria who received the maximum amount of points but nevertheless, the songs which were given a second place were Serbia and Ukraine who will be represented by Zeljko Joksimovic and Gaitana with the songs Nije Ljubav Stvar and Be My Guest. Keep a close eye on escflashmalta.com in the coming days for more news about the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.
Music is always on the frontfront of the minds of everyone and when the analysis of the second semi-final is put forward, it seems that one track seems to stick to mind with all of the others fighting it out for the remaining qualification spots. The amount of quality in this years' competition of the Eurovision Song Contest is quite high, so much so that it has been noted to be an open field at least until a couple of weeks ago when a number of tracks had been touted as potential winners. Nevertheless, the sixth song to be heard on the night of Thursday, will be none other than Vida Minha composed by Andrej Babic and penned by Carlos Coelho and ultimately performed by Filipa Sousa. The entry will be representing Portugal, the longest competing country yet to score a victory.
Filipa Sousa was born on March 2, 1985, in Albufeira. Her musical dreams started early: at the age of 6, she started learning music, and later entered the Conservatory. From the age of 12, she started participating in festivals and karaoke contests, in which she won a few prizes and several amateur Fado competitions in the Algarve.
After Filipa participated in workshops and theatre plays, she became part of the Fado group Al-Mouraria in 2003, and performed in various parts of the country, Spain and Morocco, and in TV shows. In 2007 she managed to get into the casting show Operação Triunfo, in which she remained for seven weeks, getting a very positive reaction.
In April 2008, she won the 1st Big Fado Soirée of the Algarve, in Loulé. In May 2010, she participated in the gala nights Nasci para o Fado (I Was Born For Fado), broadcast by the RTP, and whose goal was to select artists for the musical Fado: História de um Povo (Fado: The History of a People), by Filipe La Féria. She was selected for the final gala. She did various shows in different styles, from Fado to rock, accompanied by musicians on stage or by instrumental playback.
The Critics Voice Their Opinion
- Another ballad. The melody has too many notes and a complicated structure. Boring performance, only thing that interests me are the dancers due to their outstanding choreography. Too bad it’s not a dance contest though, I would like to give them two (2) points.
- Portugal remains musically always loyal to itself, I like this influence of Fado Harmonies! Nevertheless, I just cannot see this standing out amongst the other songs and I believe that it will not make it to the finals hence giving it a total of four (4) points.
- A ballad that really wants to be emotional, dramatic and bombastic but that never really goes anywhere. The singer is good and nails the camera with her eyes, but it doesn't help much when your song is as static as this one. Agreeing with my colleagues above, I would like to give this song a total of four (4) points.
Performer: Filipa Sousa
Composer: Andrej Babic
Author: Carlos Coelho
Song: Vida Minha
History of the Nation
This will be the nations' forty-sixth attempt for Portugal who remain the longest participating country not to win or at least finish in the top five at the Eurovision Song Contest. The fact of the matter remains that they have only reached the elite top ten on nine occasions, which means a handful unfortunately but their music has always shined through and in recent years have somewhat seen a bit of a resurgence making the final for three of the past four years with their best song in years sent back in 2008 entitled Senhora Do Mar performed by Vania Fernandes finishing in thirteenth position following a runner-up finish in the semi-final. Their best result was back in 1996 when the singer Lúcia Moniz performed the song O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor finishing in sixth place. It will be interesting to see what result Filipa will ultimately achieve.
One of the countries dealing with a struggling economy in Europe is surely Greece whom this year will be represented by none other than Eleftheria Eleftheriou, an artist signed to Universal Music Greece. The fact of the matter remains that the selection and the participation is taking place due to the backing of the recording label as was instructed by ERT, earlier on this year. It seems that the issues are somewhat more deep tied than expected though and despite a short promotional tour of Turkey, The Netherlands and Belgium, it seems that the problems have continued with the lack of representation at the actual competition.
During the weekend, the executive board of the broadcasting company, ERT met up to discuss the plans for Baku, Azerbaijan and it was decided that apart from the performer and her backing act, the only people going forward with her would be the Head of Delegation, a certain Ms Kousoulas and also Mary Cossack who seems to be in charge of the staging. Other personnel in the public relations area will be dealing with issues from Athens where the broadcasters' headquarters are situated. Greece are of course competing in the first semi-final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest and are favourites for qualification and also a possible top ten finish with the song Aphrodisiac. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.
Source: OGAE Romania, ERT
Over the past couple of months, it has been well noted that the relations between Malta and Azerbaijan have been very strong due to the fact that the Public Broadcasting Services and Ictimai Television have worked closely together in order to ensure a successful partnership for this year and for many years to come. The fourth country to be performing on Thursday, the night of the second semi-final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest is none other than Malta, a country of mixed fortunes in the showcase especially as of late noting that the tide of the former century seems to have turned. This time round, the small nation in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is being represented by Kurt Calleja and his entry bearing the name This Is The Night written by Johan Jämtberg, Mikael Gunnerås & Kurt Calleja.
Kurt took his first singing audition when he was very young merely to join the school choir because he wanted to be with his friends. Years later he was chosen to sing in the children's choir during the last visit to Malta of his Holiness Pope John Paul II. It was only in 2005 that Kurt took singing very seriously. In 2008 Kurt moved to the UK for a year to work as an air steward. During this period in England, Kurt spent most of his free time studying the piano and performing in a number of small venues such as restaurants, bars and clubs.
Back in Malta he started off as a backing vocalist on a television variety show and later as a solo singer on another family show on the national television station. Kurt has taken part in several television programmes. The year 2010 got Kurt to perform in a duet in the national final of the Malta Song For Europe. Actually, 2010 was quite a successful year for Kurt as he took part and won the international festival called Orfeo In Italia, a festival that is held in Venice.
Kurt Calleja has also been part of a number of local events including the Farsons Beer Festival amongst others. Nevertheless, one particular occasion which is truly noteworthy is the time when Kurt performed as a supporting act for world famous Zucchero. The song This Is The Night is written by Kurt Calleja and composed by Johan Jämtberg, Mikael Gunnerås. Kurt together with the composers is working on his first album which will be out shortly.
The Critics Voice Their Opinion
- At last – an up-tempo song! Kurt has a charming charisma and smile, good vocals and performs a simple, efficient and danceable song with a modern pop dance touch. My fear is that the song might be a little too simple, especially the first part of the chorus (“This is the night” etc.) Though the “oh-oh-oh” ending of the chorus has a great hook. I would have loved to hear more of Kurt’s higher vocal range, which would’ve brought even more energy into the song. But – I believe Malta will reach the finals! Let's go with a total of seven (7) points for this one.
- I must say that this track sounds like a mashup between the Spanish; Enrique Iglesias and the American; Usher, a dancefloor song performed by a lovely guy. This is a worthy effort from the nation, nine (9) points are truly deserved!
- A really bleak and washed-out song, saved a bit by charismatic Kurt behind the microphone. He radiates warmth and likeability, and I sincerely wish he will find something more meaningful to perform at a later stage of his career. I am slightly less optimistic than my colleagues above in giving him five (5) points for this performance.
Performer: Kurt Calleja
Composers: Johan Jämtberg, Mikael Gunnerås & Kurt Calleja
Authors: Johan Jämtberg, Mikael Gunnerås & Kurt Calleja
Song: This Is The Night
History of the Nation
Malta have had quite the interesting record in the Eurovision Song Contest and this year will be celebrating twenty-five years in the event like Iceland actually who have a similar history to the small Mediterranean nation. Over the course of time, the nation that is yet to win the Eurovision Song Contest has finished third on two occasions, the first being in 1992 as Mary Spiteri and her track Little Child finished in third place and then in 1998 when Chiara and her debut entry The One That I love. Apart from this, Malta has laso finished second on two ocassions, the first one being in 2002 when the local pop/rock chic Ira Losco performed the song 7th Wonder to amaze the audience in Tallinn and then in 2005 when a breathtaking performance of Angel by Chiara made the audience weep. since the introduction of the semi-finals, Malta has only made the final twice, in 2004 with On Again...Off Again by Julie & Ludwig and in 2009 with Chiara and her third entry What If We. In the past two years, Malta has missed out but only just with seven points in 2010 and just one point in 2011.
This year, Serbia decided to take up a different route towards success by choosing one of their most popular performers in the form of Zeljko Joksimovic who has already done his deed when the nation was still intertwined with its neighbouring country of Montenegro. The song which he had performed back then was none other than Lane Moje which finished in the runner-up position just behind Ruslana and her track Wild Dances. Many people have commented that this years' entry for the Eurovision Song Contest entitled Nije Ljubav Stvar is as beautiful and could achieve a very strong finish at the end of the evening of the 26th May 2012.
In the past couple of weeks, the performer has been busy recorded a number of different versions to the track indlucing one in Russian and one in English but now he has decided to work on something completely different in the form of an instrumental which bears the name Summer Mix 15 in 1 with the use of a number of musical instruments which had been posted on the Zeljko Joksimovic Official Greek Fanpage. Apart from this, a brand new Eurovision version has also been recorded within the Kolarc Auditorium in Belgrade alongside the RTS Symphonic Orchestra. Zeljko will not need any introduction when he takes to the stage having performing, written and also hosted on behalf of the event. We would like to wish Serbia and RTS the very best of luck with their endeavours. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more news about the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.
Proud-to-be-Malta’s representative in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Kurt Calleja, has lately been touring around Europe promoting his song. On the 25th April was infact his very last day of this tour which took him around most part of Eastern Europe. His last stop was Amsterdam, in Netherlands, where he took part in the event called “Eurovision in Concert” last Sunday, 21st April, where not less than 24 countries promoted their entry. Before returning to Malta on the 26th April, Kurt made a stop in Milan where he will be appearing on a show aired on RAI Due.
During his promotional tour, Kurt met with other Eurovision contenders including Sabina Babayeva who will be representing the host country Azerbaijan, Can Bonomo representing Turkey, Sofi Marinova of Bulgaria, Ivi Adamou of Cyprus, Soluna Samay of Denmark, Donny Montell of Lithuania and Anggun who will be representing France. Kurt Calleja made various appearances in TV shows and performances in nightclubs and also in some National Selections, including Lithuania’s National Selection. Kurt described this promotional tour as “a great adventure” and he surely made a good name for our country, thanks also to his bubbly and super out-going character.
Now, the emphasis of Kurt’s work will surely be on those important 3 minutes on the stage on the 24th May, that is, the second semifinal. Maybe odds will treat us bad once again, but everyone is more than sure that Kurt and his team will do not only their very best, but their utmost to assure a great performance on that night … and hopefully ‘that would be the night’. In an interview done by escflashmalta.com, Kurt said that the performance will be as simple as possible, nearing very much the performance which led him to the victory last February.
Source: Facebook, escflashmalta
Our critics for the second semi-final of the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest were announced yesterday and a guest star from the local music scene will also be reviewing the entry for Sweden in the absence of Magnus Kaxe who is of course a leading Swedish songwriter. Kicking off the second evening this year will be none other than Serbia which is quite ironic noting that Montenegro is opening the first semi-final just two night before that. The former Yugoslavian nation has had a much better record than their counter-part but in the past two years, they have had to suffice with mediocre placings despite the submission of great songs to the event. They will be hoping that it will chance this year with Željko Joksimović, an artist who is somewhat of a trump-card. He will be performing the song Nije Ljubav Stvar written alongside Marina Tucaković and Miloš Roganović.
Željko Joksimović was born on the 20th of April, 1972. in Belgrade, Serbia. At 12 years of age, he won the prestigious First Accordion of Europe award at the music festival in Paris. He attended the University of Musical Arts in Belgrade and is one of rare musicians who knows how to play 14 different instruments. His professional music career has continuously been on the rise. During the 1990's he achieved consecutive success at the Belgrade Spring festival as a composer. In addition to performing, Željko also composed music for theatre productions. The defining year in the career of Željko Joksimović was 2004. when he won the national song contest for Serbia and Montenegro with the song Lane Moje.
After many years, Serbia and Montenegro got their representative at the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest, where he finished in second place in the Final. The success at the Eurovision Song Contest changed the direction of Željko's career. This is proven by the results that he achieved in the following years. In December of 2005 Željko's fourth album sold over 500.000 copies. In terms of quality, this album represents a big step forward in his career - during this period Željko also ventured into composing music for films.
The Eurovision success repeated once again in 2006, when his composition Lejla for Hari Mata Hari, the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina won third place. September of 2007 was marked by the sixth regional Balkan radio festival in which 22 pop stars from the region competed. The Grand Prix was won by Željko for his hit song Devojka. At the most prestigious music festival in Serbia, Beovizija in 2008, he composed the winning song Oro, performed by Jelena Tomašević. It was this song that represented Serbia, the host of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008.
Serbian Broadcasting Corporation and the EBU gave Željko the role of the host of the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, held in Belgrade along with Jovana Janković. Jelena Tomašević and the song Oro Finished in sixth place in the Final. Serbian broadcaster RTS revealed the exciting news that Željko Joksimović would once again represent his country on the 57th Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan 2012. Željko has been given complete control over the Serbian entry. He will both compose and perform the entry, which was presented to the public for the first time in a show on Serbian television in early 2012. This will be Željko's fourth attempt at winning the competition.
The Critics Voice Their Opinion
- A 4:30 minute song compressed into 3 minutes. The ethnic and orchestra sounds remind me a little bit of the soundtrack from “The lords of the rings”. Interesting arrangement structure which nicely builds up to the triumphant ending. The artist has a great voice and the Serbian language fits well to the song. A very good start indeed, hence eight (8) points.
- Beautiful song with so much feeling, I love his voice and this song will make me cry.....the harmonies are wonderful, full of strength and power, I think one of the best songs of this years contest...I believe that the maximum ten (10) points are in order.
- This is yet another bombastic and close-to-perfect Balkan ballads, and we have heard a few of them in the last few years. Coming from Željko, I would have expected a bit more here. It is good, but not Lane moje-good, still thought eight (8) points.
Performer: Željko Joksimović
Composer: Željko Joksimović
Authors: Marina Tucaković and Miloš Roganović
Song: Nije Ljubav Stvar
History of the Nation
Since the dissolution of the nation known as Serbia & Montenegro, it seems that the former has managed to take away some of the priceless gems in a numerous amount of industries including music and tennis for example but let's stay on the music side. The culture seems to have been transcended well onto Europe. Upon their initial participation as an independent country, they managed to finish at the top position with Marija Serifovic and her track Molitva. The positive results would go on even onto the following year in fact with Jelena Tomasevic taking up the role with yet another beautiful Balkan ballad written by Zeljko himself finishing in sixth position. Their luck seemed to be running out especially when they failed to qualify from the semi-final in 2009 with Cipela performed by Marko Kon & Milan Nikolic but then performances from Milan Stankovic in 2010 and also Nina in 2011 saw them make the finals and reach decent mid-table positions.
One of the key features that differs from our music related portal is professional reviews about the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest conducted by some of the most influential individuals in the music business. In fact, in the first semi-final, the editorial board of escflashmalta.com was proud to present a collaboration between songwriters and producers hailing from nations who have a lot of talent but then again, their backgrounds signified their important as well. Such projects have been continuously supported by our readers and therefore, we are proud to welcome a new panel of individuals who will be discussing the songs in the second semi-final.
The second semi-final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest has been noted down to be quite a difficult one to obtain the position of a finalist from and this is due to the fact that there are a number of nations who somewhat have a place in the final based on their geographical information along with their respective history whilst others are presenting songs which cannot fail according to the media, fans and also the betting odds. For the second semi-final, the individuals that have been called upon are none other than Magnus Kaxe from Sweden, Marion Welter from Luxembourg and Tobias Larson from Finland. It is important to note that the Swede will not be stating his opinion on his nations' entry therefore, a special critic for the song will be revealed on the day.
The local community was unknown to who Magnus Kaxe actually was prior to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in which he worked with the talented Dorthy Bezzina on the track Autobiography, nevertheless, this is a man of integrity and experience with a successful track record of working with notable names in the business including the likes of former Eurovision Song Contest winner; Celine Dion, American Idol runner-up; Clay Aiken, Pop Idol runner-up; Gareth Gates, Danish charting sensation; Aqua and last but not least Benny from ABBA. Such a repertoire is surely one which has to be mentioned because of the fact that it is good but not only that but also due to the fact that he has worked with talented lyricist, Gerard James Borg on this respective track. Hailing from Sweden, we are proud to have him on board as he adds his touch to our reviews. In the coming years, people will surely be hearing more of Magnus Kaxe so be on the look out.
The amount of people behind the scenes is somewhat intriguing all the time but one of the people who feels the pressure of going out onto that stage is surely Marion Welter, a mezzo-soprano who represented Luxembourg in the 1992 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the entry Sou Fräi. Despite a disappointing result which was unexpected due to a sublime performance, she was awarded a total of ten points, all of which came from the Maltese Jury showing that indeed, we share the same taste. Throughout the years, Marion has continuously increased her popularity having performed in a number of galas, concerts and also military tattoos whilst also performing with a number of orchestras during a number of years. Due to her inclusion in a number of musical programmes, she has been given most of the solos showing diversity in her vocal techniques. We are proud to welcome such an esteemed individual on our panel bringing about an opinion from a nation that holds the second most victory at the event yet does not compete anymore.
An adopted Finn with some Swedish roots is none other than Tobias Larsson, a man who has dedicated a lot of his time within the world of the Eurovision Song Contest due to taking a job within the sector when it became available. Throughout his career, he has taken up the role of a web-editor with YLE, which happens to be the Finnish broadcaster for the esteemed music event. In recent years, the profile of Finland has risen especially following their victory with the song Hard Rock Halleluljah and their recent history suggests successful venture. One of the most interesting roles which he has had to fill in recent years is being the commentator for the Swedish audiences in Finland noting that there is a channel which is specific for such minorities. This will serve YLE right this year as the song that the nation has put forward is actually in the Swedish tongue, the second time ever. So a website coordinator, a commentator also a critic on the Finnish preview show this year. It is an honour for us that he has found his time to share his views and marks on the songs.
The first review will appear as of tomorrow, Friday 27th April and will be featuring Serbia. It is quite interesting the way that the points went for the acts in the first semi-final. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com as we bring you these comments, biographies, pictures and of course the official preview videos as presented to the European Broadcasting Union. We would like to personally thanks Jarmo Siim and the rest of the team behind the Eurovision Song Contest who have been so kind to aid us in this project for yet another year. Be ready to read some scintillating comments and then on the night of the first semi-final, a live review by one of our editors and local singer Raquela. Stay tuned!
This year has been one of those years when the runner-up at this years' Malta Eurovision Song Contest continued to garner more acclaim than the actual winner despite the high dose of support that Kurt Calleja and his team have been receiving in the past couple of weeks. In second place was none other than Claudia Faniello, an experience artist who first emerged on the scene in the Malta Song for Europe back in 2006 and she has never looked back securing popularity, a debut album and also two runner-up finishes at the esteemed music competition whilst also supporting some of the biggest acts in the industry. In recent days, French superstar Anggun recorded a duet of her entry, Echo (You & I) for the Eurovision Song Contest with Claudia within a bi-lingual concept but they have joined forces once more on another track.
The track that they have worked on together is none other than Pure composed by Philip Vella, penned by Gerard James Borg and produced by Sean Vella. The technique of the vocals is stunning and the way that they intertwine together is just brilliant. Pure was the runner-up entry in this years' Malta Eurovision Song Contest and it seems that should she have been chosen, we would have got very high marks from the French Jury noting the fact that even Bruno Berberes, the Head of Delegation awarded her the maximum marks in Malta saying that it is pure beauty in all its entirety. Following the competition, Pure went onto a foray on iTunes, by climbing up to number #1 in just a couple of hours and staying there for a month, something which Kurt Calleja is yet to accomplish as his status at the top did not last that long unfortunately. You can hear the duet below in a Youtube video prepared for the occasion.
Source: YouTube, escflashmalta